I promised myself that I would no longer get into any discussions about politics. And, guess what? This is NOT about politics.
It’s about making sure my body is MINE — and not owned by some random man who thinks he owns any woman’s body whenever he wants it.
Like this woman, I have been “touched” by a man against my own will. And, I spent a good portion of my life actually believing I had NOT been a victim of sexual assault. Why? I’m glad you asked that question.
The answer, however, is probably something you don’t want to hear.
Unwanted sexual touching has been normalized in our culture for pretty much not only during the entire history of our nation, but was previously normalized in the cultures that spawned our nation.
It’s not just about the fact that for centuries women were the property of the man in their lives. Not just husbands, but also fathers or cousins or brothers — or any other male that the justice system of the time felt needed to be a “guardian” for someone by virtue of her gender because women, of course, are unable to be responsible for themselves.
No, this is not a screed against “the patriarchy.” It goes far beyond that knee-jerk terminology.
For centuries, we women have been told that if someone touches us they are simply giving us a compliment. Of course, if they go beyond touching, then it is our fault for being alluring. We are made filthy by the choices of men, and blamed for it by those same men.
This is exactly why we stay silent. Either it is the aggressor who is treated like he chose to do something positive, or it is the “protector” to whom we should give our all because he is simply saving the “damsel in distress.”
Yes, this is the same phrase that I modify to be “damsel in a dress.”
Sadly, even I have to go back to the whole Prince Charming myth, because since sexual assault has been so normalized, the men who choose act as if they are entitled to own the bodies of all the women in the world will NOT listen to any woman standing up for herself.
We also worry about the women who have had it worse than us. That if we admit to being assaulted somehow we’re making their experience of full rape less important or less traumatizing because we were lucky enough to escape what they have to deal with every day for the rest of their lives.
I can tell you this much at least. I am no longer being silent. I am no longer choosing to “ignore” what these men do in the hopes they will leave us alone. And I WILL stand up and defend any other woman who is being “only” sexually assaulted, because we can no longer put up with this shit.
We need to stand together, ladies. Just like the women who have fought for their rights before us, we need to stand up and be heard.